Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Free will vs. God's sovereignty?
Theological giant, Matt Perman comments:
Finally, let me conclude with a clarification to avoid misunderstanding. I am not saying that man is entirely passive in salvation. The Scriptures clearly teach that man's will is involved in coming to Christ. It is a choice that we make. What I do deny is that man is ultimate in salvation. Thus, when we believe in Christ, God must be the one who is causing us to do this through His effectual call. The issue between Calvinism and Arminianism is not whether man makes a choice, but why man makes the choice that He does. Calvinism answers that belief is ultimately a result of God's effectual grace, while Arminianism answers that it is not ultimately because of anything God is or does.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:4-5
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will. Ephesians 1:4
God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. II Thess. 2:13
"And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Rom 8:30.
(HT: Vitamin Z)
Monday, June 28, 2010
The Lord God Almighty is absolute sovereign God over all things whatsoever. He created the heavens and the earth: everything whatsoever that exists. He has power over all things. He gives whatever He chooses to whomever He pleases. Nothing exists or occurs without His permission.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
(Genesis 1:1 KJV)
"All things were made by him; and without him was not
anything made that was made." (John 1:3 KJV)
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are
and were created." (Revelation 4:11 KJV)
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and
create evil: I the Lord do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7
" . . . whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine."
(Job 41:11 KJV)
" . . . for all the earth is mine." (Exodus 9:15 KJV)
"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon
a thousand hills." (Psalms 50:10 KJV)
" . . . for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof."
(Psalms 50:12 KJV)
"And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked
shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21 KJV)
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and
he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among
the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say
unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35 KJV)
"Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with
mine own?" (Matthew 20:15a KJV)
"Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say
unto him, What doest thou?" (Job 9:12 KJV)
"The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked
for the day of evil." (Proverbs 16:4 KJV)
"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any
thing too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27 KJV)
"Thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth" (2 Kings 19:15).
". . . being predestinated according to the purpose (or plan) of Him who worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of His own will." Eph. 1:11
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose(or plan). Rom. 8:28
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Acts 2:22-23 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Saturday, June 26, 2010
C. Michael Patton:
I went to a church the other day and it was not much different than a rock concert. Might I say, it was a very well done rock concert. Electric guitars, drums in their own sound area, smoke, lights, and two or three people singing the latest in contemporary worship music. There was a part of me that enjoyed it and another part of me which sighed. Another church I attended had a mixture of some of the classic hymns along with some contemporary worship. No smoke. No flashing lights. But the sigh was still there. It just had a different sound. It was lacking something.
There is hardly a place you can go anymore and hear the classic hymns of the faith sung in a classic way. Nine out of ten times, churches have quietly changed their tune. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against contemporary worship music. In fact, I really like it. But more and more the great hymns of the faith are being ushered out. Now, even when they are played, their sound is contemporary. It is not really the same. The best way I can express it is that hymns are epic and epic songs need an epic sound.
I like the word “epic.” It fits when it comes to the great hymns of the faith. Hymns are epic as God is epic. Hymns played in a traditional way, with the traditional sound, are even more epic.
I don’t wish to beat this thing to death. I am 37 years-old. I just caught the tail-end of the transition to contemporary music. Think of this as an opinion piece rather than an informed theological argument. I am not saying that God is more pleased when we play hymns. I am not saying that this is the “right” way to worship. I am just saying that there is a defense that can be made for hymns.
Hymns enter the church into a saga. While I think church can and does take these kind of things to far, there is something to be said for tradition. When I attended an Eastern Orthodox church not too long ago I remember thinking about all the things that they did wrong to the detriment of the Gospel. However, there is something that I believe they get right: they allow people to experience the church. No, not the building they are in or even their congregation, but the historic church. Because of their liturgy, which goes back thousands of years, they join hands with all the saints of the past. Other traditions do this as well in their own respective ways. This is one aspect of the value that the great hymns of the faith sung and played in a classical way have. Of course most of them don’t go back to the earliest church. In fact, most only go back a few hundred years. But when we sing, “A Mighty Fortress is our God” (pipe organ, trumpet, choir and all), their is a sense in which we take the hand of Martin Luther and the reformers expressing our solidarity with them.
I know I have said in the past that I don’t like the organ. Really, I don’t like to sing with it. It drains me. However, I do love to hear it. It is not simply that it has a classic feel, but that it has an historic feel. Big difference here. The same thing with the choir. Not a quartet. A choir. People everywhere are going retro with everything. Retro cars. Retro shoes. Retro movies. Retro restaurants. Why? Because in our fast-paced, technology-doubling-every-four-years, society we are losing ourselves. We no longer feel our heritage as it has disappeared out the rear-view mirror a long time ago. Now we are groping for something to hold on to. Something that reminds informs us of who we are. Why do you think so many church goers are exiting the back door of pop-Evangelicalism in search of something with ties—real ties—to the past?
This type of stuff is simply hard to replicate.
The classic hymns also have wonderful theology. You know I was going here. Please don’t hear me saying that contemporary praise does not have good theology. So much of it does. But classic hymns are classic for a reason. They have stood the test of time and the test of a thousand theologians. Though “It is Well With My Soul” only goes back one-hundred and fifty years, its theological depth combined with the historic circumstance into which it was written make it epic.
For me, there is a time for songs with great theological depth and there is a time for songs that are outbursts of praise and petition. There is a time for everything (didn’t someone already say that?). But let us not forget the value, educational and doxological, of the more didactic hymns.
I am not saying that we should jettison everything contemporary with a self-righteous smug on our face. Don’t sing only hymns. In fact, if you were to only sing hymns, it would detract from what I am saying. We need to respect the overwhelming power of hymns. Too many of them would be exhausting. Just as I don’t want to hear multiple sermons every Sunday (I would end up forgetting them all), I don’t want to hear too many hymns. I would be happy with just one hymn that came across as an epic performance that gave us pause, caused us to joined hands with the historic church, and was rich enough for us to reflect on for days. “And Can it Be” would be fine this week. For the rest of the time, let’s sing the catching worship stuff.
Am I the only one who likes the classic hymns sung in a classic way?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
In these two short paragraphs, John Piper sums up God's Sovereignty over salvation and events in life. What you think and know about God's Sovereignty will determine your theology and soteriology.
1. God's Sovereignty in soteriology Piper says:We do not cause the new birth. God causes the new birth. Any spiritually good thing that we do is a result of the new birth, not a cause of the new birth. This means that the new birth is taken out of our hands. It is not in our control. And so it confronts us with our helplessness and our absolute dependence on Someone outside ourselves. (Finally Alive, pg. 27)
2. God's sovereignty in life events Piper says:
The painful things that come into our lives are not described by God as accidental or as out of his control. This would be no comfort. That God cannot stop a germ or a car or a bullet or a demon is not good news; it is not the news of the Bible. God can. And ten thousand times he does. But when he doesn’t, he has his reasons. And in Christ Jesus they are all loving. We are taught this sovereignty so that we will drink it in till it saturates our bones. (A Sweet and Bitter Providence, pgs. 136-37)
What do you think?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
“However hard some things are to understand, it is never helpful to start picking and choosing biblical truths we find congenial, as if the Bible is an open-shelved supermarket where we are at perfect liberty to choose only the chocolate bars.
“For the Christian, it is God’s Word, and it is not negotiable. What answers we find may not be exhaustive, but they give us the God who is there, and who gives us some measure of comfort and assurance.
“The alternative is a god we manufacture, and who provides no comfort at all. Whatever comfort we feel is self-delusion, and it will be stripped away at the end when we give an account to the God who has spoken to us, not only in Scripture, but supremely in his Son Jesus Christ.”
- D.A. Carson,
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
The apostle John's purpose in writing the epistle of 1 John was to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). In that small epistle John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer. These are:
True believers walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7). The light here means both intellectual and moral truth. Ask, "Do I affirm the truths of Scripture, and desire to obey them?"
True believers confess their sin (1:8-2:1) Confess here doesn't mean to recite every wrong that we have ever done. Rather, it means to agree with God about our sin. That means that true believers hate their sin; they don't love it. They acknowledge they are sinful, and yet they know they are forgiven.
True believers keep His commandments (2:3-4; 5:2-3). The term here refers to a watchful, observant obedience. Here the believer desires to obey truths he deems precious. It involves a proactive approach to obedience-the Christian studies Scripture in order to understand and obey it.
True believers love the brethren (2:9-11; 3:10, 14-15; 5:2). Ask yourself the question, "Do I love God's people and desire to be around them?"
True believers affirm sound doctrine (2:20-23; 4:2,6). John here teaches that no true believer will fall into any serious, Christ-denying error or heresy.
True believers follow after holiness (2:29; 3:3-4, 6-9). These verses certainly aren't talking about sinless perfection, or even the frequency or duration of sin. The term sin in these verses describes one who lives an immoral, ungodly, unrighteous life as a matter of continual practice, and carries the attitude of hardened hate for God's righteousness.
True believers have the Holy Spirit (4:13; 5:10-11). This is an over-arching test summing up all the others. Is there evidence that the fruit of the Spirit is present in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)?
In summary, one's assurance of salvation does not need to be based on a past decision or an experience. It should rest first of all on one's faith in the objective truth of God's Word, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. Secondly, it should rest on the reality of a changed life marked by obedience, a love for Christ and His righteousness, and a hatred for sin. Take heart if these things are true in your life, and trust God to continue to work out His salvation in your life.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Below is a hypothetical story taken from Sam Storms' book "Chosen For Life".
It describes the case of twins and how one comes to Christ and the other doesn't. The question he raises in the book is why? Why does one become a Christian and the other doesn't. It will be worth you time to read this short story.
Jerry and Ed are identical twins, raised by loving Christian parents. As much as was humanly possible, their mother and father refused to play favorites. Both boys were shown the same affection, granted the same privileges,
and bore the same responsibilities in the home. They attended the same schools and were virtually equal in athletic ability, popularity among their peers, and grade point average. They were truly twins in temperament, personality,
The boys attended church regularly with their parents but showed no interest in religious matters. They would often sit at the back of the church and laugh at the preacher, disdainful of his persistent appeal for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. As they were alike in so many other respects, they appeared to share an equal contempt for the gospel.
Jerry and Ed had just celebrated their nineteenth birthday and were looking
forward to graduating from high school. It was Easter Sunday. They were sitting in the same pew where they had sat for years, listening to the same pastor.
But something was different. Nothing unusual, at least in terms of the mundane,
natural affairs of life, had occurred to account for what happened on that morning. Neither brother had endured a humiliating experience at school, nor had they been the recipients of excessive praise and honor. By all appearances, it was just another Sunday morning.
But this day, much to his own surprise, Jerry suddenly found himself listening
intently to the sermon, while Ed was doodling on the church bulletin, obviously without interest in anything being said. Both brothers had heard countless sermons depicting their sinful and desperate spiritual condition, together with the promise of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ. But not until that Easter Sunday did either of them pay the slightest degree of attention.
Ideas and doctrines that had, until then, sounded silly and archaic, mysteriously began to make sense to Jerry. The existence of an infinitely holy God against whom he had rebelled, together with the prospect of eternal death, shattered all his remaining tranquility of soul. He glanced briefly at Ed to see if he was paying attention. Not a chance.
“The pastor’s right,” Jerry silently concluded. “I am a sinner. Jesus is God in human flesh, and without him I have no hope. Oh, God! Help! Save me! Forgive me! Jesus, you are my only hope. If you had not died in my place and endured the Father’s wrath, I most certainly would have. Forgive me for being so utterly blind to your beauty until now. Oh, Son of God, I embrace you alone. I want to live wholly and utterly for you.”
Jerry struggled to explain to himself what was happening. All he knew was that while listening to what he had heard so many times before, he “heard” it for the very first time. What he had read in the Bible so many times before, he now “saw” as if it had only then appeared. Jesus of Nazareth, who until now held no attraction for him, suddenly seemed altogether lovely and winsome. The conviction that this Jesus alone could deliver him from the spiritual turmoil,
grief, and guilt in which he was mired gripped his heart. His soul was, as it were, flooded with wave upon wave of peace and joy as he felt the burden of his sin lifted from his shoulders and placed upon Christ, in whom it vanished
Ed couldn't help but notice that his brother was weeping. With a quick jab of his elbow in Jerry’s side, he whispered: “Cut that out! You’re embarrassing me.” But Jerry was unfazed.
What Jerry now found altogether lovely, Ed continued to loathe. Jerry’s unbelief disappeared under a flood of repentance and whole-souled love for Christ. By an act of his will, Jerry embraced the redemptive sufferings of Jesus as his only hope and haven. He willingly repudiated sin and reliance on self, and with joy reposed in Christ. But Ed remained obstinate, and now even more indignant, in his unbelief.
Needless to say, Jerry’s experience that morning made for a volatile conversation in the car on the way home. He tried to explain to his brother what had happened, but Ed was incredulous and filled with rage. They were so engrossed in conversation that neither of them saw the pickup truck jump the median into their lane. The crash was head-on and fatal for both.
Instantly, Jerry left this life and entered the bliss of eternal joy in the presence of the Savior whom he had embraced only minutes before in saving faith. Tragically, Ed faced the eternal opposite, separation from the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as an object, not of love and favor, but of righteous wrath and indignation.
What accounts for the irrevocable and eternal division between these earthly brothers? What made Jerry to differ from Ed? Why did one come to heartfelt and happy faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior while the other persisted in heartfelt hatred and disdain?
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Friday, June 11, 2010
The Bible states plainly that God foreknows people not actions or events. This is because of what the word foreknow means. Many miss this and it distorts their theology and their Soteriology. To get a good understanding of the word one must take it in context with the Bible. Once again look at
1 Peter 1:1-2 which talks of those who are "chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..."
In Romans 8: 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
So, once again what does foreknowledge mean. Important wouldn't you say.
If you say God choses people based on His knowledge of who will accept Him, who is in control? Who is God? Does God base His decisions and actions based on what another person will do?
What does foreknowledge mean? It changes everything.
James White says this about foreknowledge:
the word "foreknew" does not merely mean to know future actions beforehand. It has a much more precise meaning. The word "foreknew" (Greek: proginosko) in Romans 8:29 is a verb rather than a noun. It is an action word, and as the text informs us, it is something done by God. What exactly does God do then? The text says "those whom He foreknew..."
To gain a correct biblical definition of this word foreknew, rather than assume its meaning (which is what many do), we need to do some homework and study. In this case it means we need to go to passages of scripture that have God as the subject of the verbal form, as here in this passage. This is because passages that have humans as the subject would differ substantially in their meaning from the ones where God is the subject, because, I am sure we will all agree, we as creatures "know" things on a very different basis to the way God does.
When we do this we find the verb proginosko is used three times in the New Testament with God as the subject - here in Romans 8:29, then also in Romans 11:2, and lastly in 1 Peter 1:20. This proves to be significant when we ask the question "what, or who is foreknown by God?"
In Romans 8:29, the direct object of the verb is a pronoun that refers back to the called of the previous verse (v. 28). In Romans 11:2 the object the verb is refering to is "His people," and in 1 Peter 1:20, the object is Jesus Christ Himself.
Each reference then portrays God as foreknowing persons rather than actions. 1 Peter 1:20 says, "For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you." When God foreknew Christ, did that mean that God simply knew that Jesus would make correct decisions or have faith in His Father? Hardly! It speaks of the Father's personal intimacy and affection for His beloved Son.
To quote Dr. James White in this regard, "to say that God foreknows acts, faith, behavior, choices, etc, is to assume something about the term that is not witnessed in the biblical text. God foreknows persons not things."
How does this relate to what we find in the Old Testament? Well there, we have a similar meaning to the word meaning of "forknew" in the New Testament. This is the Hebrew word "yada." It refers in a number of instances to God's "knowing" of individuals. For instance in Jeremiah 1:5, God said to Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Dr. White comments, "Here God's knowledge of Jeremiah is clearly personal. It is paralleled with the term "consecrated" and "appointed," pointing us toward the element of "choice." This knowledge of Jeremiah is not limited to time. In some manner, God "knew" Jeremiah before Jeremiah came into existence."
We see this same concept in God's "knowing" of Moses. Exodus 33:17 - "The LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name." Again we see the personal nature of God's knowing of an individual. This refers to a personal intimacy and affection God had for Moses in that he had found favor in the eyes of the Lord. God had chosen Moses to be a recipient of His tender mercy.
I'll quote just one more passage where we see this word yada used to refer to God possessing a personal intimacy and affection. Amos 3:2 in speaking of Israel says, "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
The NASB actually translates yada as "chosen," here, and there is a very strong basis by way of context for this word to be translated in this way. Literally it says, "You only (speaking of Israel) have I known..." It should be obvious to us that God didn't merely know about Israel, and possessed no such knowledge of other nations, nor that merely God knew the future actions of Israel, and didn't know the future actions of the other nations. This "knowing" of Israel is deeply personal and intimate and speaks of God's grace in choosing them to be His people for His Sovereign purposes alone. The word yada is used also in Genesis 4:1 when it says that Adam "knew" his wife Eve. The result of this "knowing" was a child, lets remember - revealing a deep personal relationship.
All this is important because it presents a consistent pattern: understanding how the verb is used in the New testament, along with these insights from the Old, provides a very strong basis for understanding what foreknew actually means.
Dr. White states, "When Paul says, "those whom He foreknew" Paul is speaking about an action on God's part that is just as solitary, just as God-centered, and just as personal as every other action in the string: God foreknows (chooses to enter into relationship with); God predestines; God calls; God justifies; God glorifies. From first to last it is God who is active, God who accomplishes all these things."
"Foreknew" therefore does not merely suggest "a passive gathering of infallible knowledge of the future actions of free creatures" but rather reveals that from start to finish, salvation is a Divine accomplishment, for it is God and God alone who saves, to the praise of His glory alone.
To quote Dr. James Montgomery Boice in his comments on Romans 8:29, "the verse does not say that God foreknew what certain of his creatures would do. It is not talking about human actions at all. On the contrary, it is speaking entirely of God and of what God does. Each of these five terms is like that: God foreknew, God predestined, God called, God justified, God glorified. Besides, the object of the divine foreknowledge is not the actions of certain people but the people themselves. In this sense it can only mean that God has fixed a special attention upon them or loved them savingly."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
There is a lot of debate among preachers and scholars about what God's foreknowledge means and implies. Here is Piper's take on it.
"Chosen According to the Foreknowledge of God"
Take the first phrase of verse 2. We are elect "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." What is the basis of our election? Why did God choose me for his own? Or, to put it very personally, what will be your bottom-line answer to God when he asks, how is it that you came to believe on me and be saved while others did not?
Peter's answer is, "God foreknew me." Elect according to God's foreknowledge. But what does that mean? Does it mean that I really elected myself and then God knew that I would do that, so he chose me on the basis of my self-election. Is that what "God's foreknowledge" is?
I don't think so. Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). Our choosing God is based on God's choosing us, not vice versa.
God's foreknowledge of his people is not merely his awareness of what they will do. His foreknowledge of his people is his acknowledgement of them as his, or his recognition of them. Let me give your two examples of this kind of knowing.
1. In Psalm 1:6 it says, "The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." This does not mean he is aware of the way of the righteous but ignorant of the way of the wicked. It means he acknowledges the way of the righteous. God's knowing of his people is his approving and acknowledging.
2. In Amos 3:2 God says to Israel, "You only have I known among all the families of the earth." This does not mean that God is only aware of the existence of Israel, but that he only acknowledges Israel as his own. He only recognizes Israel as his people.
This is the background for Peter's words in 1 Peter 2:9 when he says to the churches, "You are a chosen race." He doesn't mean that God looked for a people who already believed on him and then chose them for his own. It means that he sovereignly chose Abraham (Nehemiah 9:7), while he was still serving other gods (Joshua 24:2-3), to be the father of Israel. And that choosing is called "knowing" in Genesis 18:19: "In him all the nations will be blessed, for I have known him."
That's the background of 1 Peter 1:2: "elect according to the foreknowledge of God." Before the foundation of the world God knew who were his: he acknowledged us and bestowed on us the recognition of his own. That's the foundation of election. It is not owing to our birth or our achievements or our religion or our works or our virtue or our faith. It is owing to God's free acknowledgement of whom he will in the counsel of his wisdom.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 1 Peter 1:1-2
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The doctrine of total depravity understands the Bible to teach that all men, as a
consequence of the fall, are born dead in sin, morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, perverted in heart and mind, and unable of themselves to please God or even to come to God for salvation.
• Rom 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
• Rom 3:9-12 - . . . all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None
is righteous, no, not one.
• Mark 10:18 - Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good
except God alone.”
Because of the Fall
• Rom 5:12 - Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death
through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
Born Dead in Sin
• Eph 2:1-3 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once
walked, . . . and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
• Col 2:13 - And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of
your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our
• John 3:5-7 - Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of
the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, “’You must be born again.’”
Born Morally Corrupt
• Psalm 51:5 - Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother
• Psalm 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth,
• Matt 7:18 - A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good
Enslaved to Sin
• John 8:32 - Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who
commits sin is a slave to sin.”
• 2 Tim 2:25-26 - God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge
of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the
devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
• Titus 3:3 - For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to
various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by
others and hating one another.
Perverted in Heart and Mind
• Jer 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can
• Eccl 9:3 - . . . the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in
their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
• Gen 6:5 - The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
• Mark 7:20-23 - And [Jesus] said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles
him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual
immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality,
envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they
defile a person.”
Unable to Come to God
• Rom 3:10-11 - "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks
• John 3:27 - John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is
given him from heaven.”
• Is 64:7 - There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take
hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the
hand of our iniquities.
• Eph 2:12-13 - you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the
commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no
hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were
far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
• 1 Cor 1:18-24 - For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but
to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . . For since, in the wisdom of
God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the
folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and
Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews
and folly to Gentiles,
• Eph 2:4-5 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he
loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with
Christ--by grace you have been saved--
• Rom 9:11-16 - . . . in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not
because of works but because of him who calls . . . For he says to Moses, “I will
have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have
compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who
• John 6:44, 65 - No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.
. . . there are some of you who do not believe. . . . This is why I told you that no
one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.
So, What Does This Mean?
The bad news of unregenerate man’s spiritual condition points to several implications.
Because man is dead, he is in no position to do anything of spiritual merit before the Lord. Furthermore, because he is dead, he has no desire to do such things. He does not understand spiritual matters in such a way that he will accept them as truth and trust them for his eternal destiny. If we were to stop our lessons at this point, we would be hopeless.
The only possible solution for such a dead wretched creature is for something to be done for him, to him. He must be made alive! The revelation of God continues to tell us howGod alone overcomes this state of man.